Today is Election Day in Chicago. We are electing a new Mayor and also voting on a host of other municipal slots, including all Aldermen. Here's why I support Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of the City of Chicago:
1. Policy: I find Rahm's policies on good government, and TIF Reform to be credible and specific. I know less about crime and job creation, but I believe that he's talking to the right people and asking the right questions. He has specific ideas on how to "bring innovators to Chicago, attract tech talent, and help Chicago start-up and tech companies thrive". That's the business I'm in, and it is what keeps me up at night. He speaks directly to me there.
2. Power: I find Rahm's background and experience pretty damn compelling. He's been the House Democratic Caucus Chair and the Chief of Staff for the President of the United States. The amazing amount of money he's been able to raise from all sorts of (mostly rich) people also indicates a certain ability to win friends and influence people. Chicagoans, technology titans, NYC business types, Hollywood mainstays, and so on. I want that power working for us.
3. Process of elimination: There are six people on the ballot, and Rahm Emanuel is clearly the best choice. In addition to the reasons above, here's how I got there:
Gery Chico is highly qualified. I really think he could easily be a good Mayor. He's done many jobs in City government and has worked the system from the outside as well. But it seems like everything he says is tinged with his electoral necessities-- appealing to existing progressive power structures. Oddly enough, I think he would owe too much to the people who are going to have to make the biggest sacrifices to get us out of our financial issues. Also: he's from the South Side, and I'm from the North Side. Provincialism lives.
Miguel del Valle: this one hurts. Del Valle is one of our city's heroes. He was my State Senator in 1987. He brought honor back to the City Clerk job that Jim Laski defiled with his brown bag payments. He has reformed and modernized that office with great energy. But Miguel del Valle is not going to be the next Mayor, and I want to vote for the winner. Go ahead and call me shallow-- I've been on the losing side, and I've been on the winning side. I prefer winning.
Carol Mosely Braun: my former U.S. Senator. I was very proud to have voted for her. She has done nothing whatsoever in this campaign to get me to vote for her.
Van Pelt Watkins and Walls? Not credible candidates, in my humble opinion.
This is not a perfect outcome, according to the movie inside my head. I would have loved to see 1983 strike fire again. I was in the crowd outside City Hall after Mayor Harold Washington died. I long to take the streets again, and be so passionate about a leader. It would be nice if the reform of City government were carried out by an outsider. In fact, I reacted viscerally last Spring when Rahm first floated the idea of being Mayor. I'll save you the click-- here's the juicy bit:
So Rahm Emanuel thinks he's next in line as Mayor of the City of Chicago. I want to go on record as saying "No thank you, sir". Respectfully, no. No, but thank you for your interest.
So it is with great pride that I eat those words. He has made me a believer. There are some softer reasons as well-- humor, profanity, attitude. I like him. I heartily support support Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of the City of Chicago.